Now in its 22nd year, the Harvey Nash / KPMG CIO Survey 2020 is the largest IT leadership survey in the world, with over 4,200 responses from CIOs and technology executives across 83 countries, including more than 350 from the banking sector. So, what are their priorities and how are these being shaped by the COVID-19 pandemic?

The sector is already one of the most advanced in terms of technology-led transformation. But with the pandemic potentially posing significant revenue and performance challenges, digital transformation has become an even more urgent necessity: to improve the customer experience, increase operational efficiencies, support widespread (and ongoing) remote working, create scalability, and build necessary streams of data.

Some fundamentals remain, such as the top two priorities for boards: 1) improving operational efficiency; and 2) improving customer engagement – both long-standing priorities of the technology leader. As banks look towards economic recovery paths, 47 percent expect to ‘transform to re-emerge’ with operating models stronger and more inline with consumer priorities – and will need IT to support the transformation.


  1. Top IT investment areas – Infrastructure/cloud, security and privacy, and customer experience and engagement head the list. Nearly four-fifths (78 percent) of banks expect to increase their use of automation across the enterprise.

  2. Skills shortages are a challenge – Cyber security professionals are most in demand, followed by those skilled in agile, cloud and organizational change management. On a positive note, over half (54 percent) of banking and capital markets organizations believe COVID-19 has created a culture of inclusivity in the technology team.

  3. Cyber security is an increasing focus – Over a third (35 percent) of banking and capital markets organizations have experienced an increase in cyber incidents due to remote working, with spear phishing and malware attacks topping the list.

  4. Leveraging data effectively is a crown jewel priority – In order to help them develop differentiated and personalized products that truly meet customer needs, banks are expanding and integrating data repositories and scaling data analytics skills.

  5. Digital leaders in the sector are delivering value faster – Leader organizations are pivoting and scaling digital channels to meet customer demands more effectively than their counterparts, collecting more valuable data and carrying out more large-scale implementations of emerging technologies such as cloud and AI.

What now?

With the increase in digital channels made available to customers in response to the pandemic, banks are focusing their attention to transform the middle and back office in order to create a fully integrated digital platform ready for the long-term.

How KPMG can help

KPMG firms are some of the largest providers of services to banking & capital markets organizations globally, we take a boutique approach to client issues with a focus on flexibility, adaptability, and innovation. We recognize that there are many on-ramps to supporting IT transformation and we’ve tailored our services accordingly:

Transform business, run business, mordernize and protect